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Fran?ois Fillon’s ‘Chinese water torture’




PARIS — It turned out a speech originally intended as the launch pad for his presidential campaign. Instead, Francois Fillon found himself defending his and his wife’s reputation against accusations of wrongdoing.

After four occasions of bruising?allegations they used?public funds to pay significant salaries to his British wife?Penelope for allegedly fictitious jobs, Fillon on Sunday told onlookers of?12,000 followers while in the northeast of Paris which he will not “intimidated” by attacks which have been directed at “breaking” him.

But even some of his aides conceded Sunday night that it will?take more than a big rally to position the campaign back on track as Republicains that worry he might really need to remove with the race.

The scandal that this French media have dubbed “Penelope-gate” has recently hit Fillon?if opinion polls are to be believed. Based on a survey published in Le Figaro, he previously barely beat former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron to second placed in the main round with the election scheduled for April 23,?polling at 22 percent to Macron’s 21 percent.

Marine Le Pen, a-# 1 of the far-right National Front, currently leads the polls at 25 %. Benoit Hamon, who won the Socialist Party primary against former Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday night, will come in fourth with 15 percent of the vote, reflecting the momentum his campaign?has acquired in the past couple of weeks.

In your second round, Macron would beat Le Pen, 65 percent to 35 percent more convincingly than Fillon would at 60 % to Forty percent, in accordance with polls. Much more disturbing for Les Republicains, Macron would resoundingly beat Fillon, 58 percent to 42 percent if both men have the ability to keep Le Pen from the runoff?on?May 7.

“Can you imagine?the suitable absent with the first round? Who takes the prize? Le Pen” — senior Fillon aide

Fillon said the other day on French TV he would withdraw from the presidential election?if they’re?put under formal investigation by judicial authorities. At this point, the French financial prosecutor merely has launched a short probe in to the allegations. Even so the fear while in the Fillon campaign is always that the current judicial probe can take a few weeks, with periodic leaks and regular reminders that would cost you “Chinese water torture,” while in the words of a on the?aides.

    Les Republicains lack a credible alternative leader that might be capable of lead its presidential bid.?The?runner-up primarily, Alain Juppe, has already declined a run as the “spare wheel” if his former adversary pulls out. The party wouldn’t adequate to arrange the right primary before the election’s registration deadline March 22. As well as its statutes are puzzled by who contain the authority to select an applicant without an election.

    As for former President Nicolas Sarkozy, his bad showing inside the November primary election and?the hostility it revealed among conservative voters, would preclude him from running regardless of whether he decided, once?again, to absolve?his promised?”retirement” from politics.

    If Fillon pulls out after the official deadline?and Les Republicains can’t then field a candidate, Le Pen would take advantage of the void about the right. This is why his statement to get outside in case of investigation was deemed “a mistake” by one Republicain official who said it “lets a threat hang on the campaign.”

    “Can you would imagine?the correct absent from your first round? Who takes the prize? Le Pen,” said a senior aide to Fillon.

    The faithful kept their faith

    In his speech Sunday, peppered with references to 1960s Gaullism and lures revive France’s prestige abroad, Fillon?struck each of the traditional right-wing notes that attracted hardcore conservative voters in the primary.

    “I’m being identified as the representative of traditional France. But someone without roots is walking in an airplane,” he stated.

    But young drivers . experimented with?reassure that surrounding Les Republicains which have concerned with a platform deemed too?far right?to entice the centrist voters although need to convince during the general election.

    Gone was the proposal to partly privatize the French heath care system, which Fillon had already pulled from his site in December after it came under heavy attack from the two left as well as the far-right National Front.

    Gone also was the relationship with shrinking public sector ranks by 500,000 over incomes, which perhaps the head in the French industrialist lobby MEDEF had criticized as too harsh.

    Instead, Fillon declared that he held public servants in high esteem, regardless if he still needs to shrink a state. “I am the enemy of bureaucracy — not the enemy of public servants,” he explained.

    Senior citizens far outnumbered students at Fillon’s rally and few among the faithful seemed moved through the allegations of wrongdoing.

    “This is trustworthy man, and they attack him because would like to change things,” said Emilie Chanteloup, 62, who’d originated from Normandy to wait the rally.

    However, while the bunch of sympathizers offered enthusiastic applause, some Fillon?aides admitted it would take greater than fiery rhetoric to prevent the troubles under control.

    Money troubles

    Fillon’s campaign plans were disrupted when?the satirical weekly Canard Enchaine revealed?Wednesday that this conservative candidate?had employed his wife like a parliamentary aide, to the tune of 500,000 euros over eight years. Hiring spouses or relatives isn’t illegal inside the French political system if your jobs are real


    Clock ticking in Romanian corruption showdown





    BUCHAREST – By passing a decree that may let corrupt politicians free, the Romanian government also set the clock ticking on efforts to thwart it.

    The measure was passed late Tuesday night, to turn into effective 10 days later. That deadline assists galvanize thousands of protesters who’ve flooded the streets to demand the decree be revoked.

    With the ecu Commission along with the embassies of Western nations also criticizing the move, the costa rica government must decide getting in touch with defy both mainstream European opinion additionally, the biggest demonstrations in Romania for the reason that fall of communism.

    Curiously, late government entities may not actually aid the protesters’ cause, like a temporary administration will not have the power to cancel the decree, according to political experts.

    Events were mounted in train when Justice Minister Florin Iordache announced how the government would update the penal code by decriminalizing the offense of official misconduct for cases involving injury to the population purse of less than

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    How Australia built a wall (and purchased it)





    SYDNEY – Think of it Australia’s naval wall.

    It’s cloudy the amount Mr . trump is aware of how Australia treats refugees who arrive on its shores by boat. Though the program would probably get his approval.

    In the three-and-a-half?years since launch of Operation Sovereign Borders, the “Lucky Country” has?turned?back rickety vessels and detained asylum seekers offshore in harsh conditions for the Pacific island of Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. Refugees who arrive by sea are banned from?ever settling in?Australia – without exception.

    Critics (and some proponents) in the system voice it out is brutal by design, providing those fleeing persecution with a cruel but effective deterrent. And delay: In 2013,?300 boats carrying 20,587 people made it to?Australia. Only 1 year later, the quantity of boat-people dropped to?157. Since 2014, no boat has made it?through.

    “On moral and ethical grounds We would express it is wrong to look at people with committed no offense, and treat them so badly how they?love to face persecution instead,” said barrister Julian Burnside, who works pro bono?with asylum seekers and campaigns against?offshore detention. “But be the fundamental logic than it.”

    The U.N.’s human rights committee ruled?the fact that indefinite detention of refugees over?security concerns breached international law.

    Whether Australia’s hardline system breaks international law is often a couple of heated debate in the united states – and abroad.

    Conditions in Australian-run detention camps are notoriously harsh. Reports of self harm, allegations of medical negligence, illness, suicide, rape,?assaults at the hands of fellow asylum seekers, hostile locals and authorities?are commonplace. In 2009, the Guardian published?2,000 leaked incident reports from Nauru, including allegations of a guard?threatening to kill a kid and the other swapping sexual favors for really shower time.

      Australia’s?leaders?insist they?adhere to their?obligations, but the U . n . and NGOs?have differing views. In April 2016, the U.N.’s human rights committee ruled?that your indefinite detention of refugees over?security concerns breached international law?and?ordered the nation to produce?five those who were detained?for six years.

      Also in 2009, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for the immediate change in asylum seekers out of the Manus Island and Nauru processing centers, labeling?them inhumane and “immensely harmful.” Amnesty International swallows a similar view. “Amnesty disagrees while using the government’s interpretation of the obligations under international humanitarian law,” said Australian spokeswoman?Emma Bull.

      Dumb and dumber

      And?this system comes at a price. Australia,?which in the ’90s considered itself something of the?deputy regional peacekeeper into the United States’ global sheriff, has lost most of its humanitarian good waiting on home and abroad. Faced with a flood of negative media reports?quoting doctors about conditions in the processing centers, the Australian government threatened?doctors and nurses with two-year prison sentences if he or she spoke out. (Authorities eventually caved into media pressure and amended the foundations.)

      And as there are the monetary cost.?Australia currently holds about 1,250?refugees in the?offshore processing centers, who typically have spent 478 days in detention. As you move the government hasn’t already?detailed the cost of the work, according to the Australian National Audit Office?holding the refugees costs over?405,000 (in close proximity to $440,000) per person each and every year. Electrical systems, the?Australian government estimates Syrian refugees that happen to be able to settle in Australia as part of its humanitarian intake cost it roughly 10,700 per person annually.

      Australia, which contains?a population of 24 million, has pledged to?settle?19,000 refugees per year on its shores, when they don’t arrive by boat.

      Because?Australia bans boat-arrivals?from selecting its shores, those that?are granted refugee status either can live in detention, settle in the community on?Manus or Nauru, or say yes to move to one third country.

      That leaves the country?begging or bribing others?to take refugees off its hands.

      Enter the?refugee resettlement arrangement?struck in November with then U.S. Barack obama, which Trump referred to as a “dumb deal”?on Twitter.

      The agreement is true for refugees already on Nauru and Manus, plus those chosen Australia temporarily for medical therapy. They can be qualified to apply for a one-off resettlement during the U.S., be more responsive to vetting by American authorities.

      The deal was away from the back of one other, struck in?September by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a invitation-only summit hosted by Obama. Under that arrangement, known as something of advance payment, Australia accepted resettle?Central American refugees from?camps in Panama and nicaragua , and pledged over 92 million aid for displaced people around the world.?(Australia, who has?a population of 24 million, has pledged to?settle?19,000 refugees 1 year on its shores, when they don’t arrive by boat.)

      If the U.S. deal falls through, Australia should resort to its plan b: Cambodia. Beneath a pact?struck in 2014, Australia accepted?cash nation around 40?million to resettle its refugees. Unfortunately, the agreement with Cambodia is?- to loan Trump’s phrase – a dumb deal. A couple of years after that it was struck, only?five refugees have decided look at the country, and simply one?has stayed there.

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      Fillon’s choices: the unhealthy, the worse as well as real ugly





      PARIS – “I’d makes use of the Titanic cliche, except there’s?no band playing.” That’s how a senior official from the conservative Les Republicains party summed up the mood in Francois Fillon presidential campaign pursuing the latest allegations by the satirical weekly Canard Enchaine.

      Fillon’s allies are uneasy, verging on desperate, about the way bigger chosen to shield himself from what he calls a “conspiracy” on the alleged funneling?of public funds to his wife and kids. Some are concerned?that it’ll cause a political debacle.

      After spending days denouncing unnamed plotters intent on taking him from the French presidential race, Fillon upped the temperature Wednesday morning by accusing the us government associated with aid inside revelations.

      This is “an institutional coup d’Etat” provided by “the ruling left,” he told a gathering of Republicains MPs, depending on AFP.

      His aim were to rally the troops against the unpopular socialist government, however some during the Fillon campaign worried so it would do little to convince voters the allegations are false.

      A week after Le Canard Enchaine said Fillon had long employed his wife Penelope as his parliamentary attache and suggested she hadn’t actually done much work with what he paid her, the paper unveiled new allegations on Wednesday.?Just how much Fillon paid his wife over the years reached nearly

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